The University of St Andrews has confirmed it is actively considering the sale of Hamilton Hall, one of the most distinctive properties in St Andrews and a building instantly recognised by golf enthusiasts throughout the world.
The University Court has given authority to Finance Director Derek Watson to enter a negotiating agreement with developers following receipt by the university of an unsolicited offer for the iconic Victorian property which overlooks the 18th green on the Old Course at St Andrews.
The Hall – currently a student residence – would be developed for tourism purposes returning the building to its original function. Prior to its purchase by the university in 1949, it was The Grand Hotel.
The unsolicited and unexpected offer from an American development company would provide the University with significant resources and allow the replacement of the Hamilton Hall beds in advance of the sale.
The deal would also provide funding for further investment in the student residential system and academic infrastructure.
The development company proposes to adapt the interior of the building for tourism and leisure purposes and plans early discussions with Fife Council and Historic Scotland. No change would be made to the exterior of the listed building.
No sale would take place until 2006, although the developers have committed to make resources available in advance of the conclusion of missives to ensure the University can provide new- build replacement accommodation for Hamilton Hall residents.
“The University occasionally receives unsolicited approaches to acquire Hamilton Hall and we always treat these approaches professionally and courteously,” said Finance Director Derek Watson.
“Although the building currently fulfils a very important function for us as a hall of residence, it is not a modern property, is not ideally suited for student residence purposes, has no car parking provision and does not form part of what the university regards as its irreducible core of historic properties.
“We have politely declined a number of serious and generous offers for this property in the past.
“Cash from any sale would allow us to provide new, state of the art residences for our students and could also fund significant investment in our teaching & research infrastructure.
“The University Court have approved an exclusivity agreement with a view to agreement on final details in the near future.”
Mike DiCarlo, one of the development team, said : We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with the University our plans to restore this grand building and make it a productive part of St. Andrews.
“As long time visitors to St. Andrews as well as homeowners in the town, it is vitally important to us to preserve the heritage of Hamilton Hall and all it means to the local community, Scotland and the international world of golf.”
Built in 1896, Hamilton Hall currently provides beds for 110 students, 50 of these in single rooms, the balance in shared rooms.
Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews. Contact : Niall Scott, tel 01382 562881, mobile 07711 223062University news